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Josh Duggar Moves to Exclude Past Molestation Scandal from Upcoming Child Porn Trial

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Josh Duggar's legal team has filed a motion to exclude the reality star's past molestation scandal from his upcoming child sex abuse material trial.

Duggar, 33, has been charged with receiving and possessing child sex abuse material. He pleaded not guilty following his April arrest and was released pending the Nov. 30 trial.

However, the criminal proceeding is not Duggar's first legal controversy. In May 2015, the 19 Kids and Counting alum apologized for his "wrongdoing" after a 2006 police report revealed that he had been investigated as a teen for inappropriately touching five underage girls. His sisters Jill, 30, and Jessa, 29, subsequently stepped forward as two of the victims.

Months later, in August 2015, Gawker reported that the oldest Duggar son appeared to have had active accounts on Ashley Madison, a website created to facilitate cheating on your spouse. He ultimately confessed to having a pornography addiction and cheating on wife Anna Duggar in a statement on the Duggar family website.

Last week, the prosecution in his current case provided a notice to the defense that they may introduce evidence of Duggar's 2000s molestation scandal in the trial.

josh duggar
josh duggar

Danny Johnston/AP/Shutterstock Josh Duggar

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"If introduced, the government anticipates that the evidence will consist of testimony that the defendant was investigated for, admitted to, and received counseling for touching and sexually molesting multiple minor females," the notice, obtained by PEOPLE, reads.

It goes on to cite a previous case in which it was determined that a history of similar acts in child molestation cases "shows an unusual disposition of the defendant—a sexual or sado-sexual interest in children—that simply does not exist in ordinary people."

"In fact, the prior child molestation offense is similar to the charged conduct in this case in at least one critical way—both offenses involve minor female victims—which only enhances the relevance and probative value of this proffered evidence," the document says. "Nor is the prior child molestation conduct so old as to render it unfairly prejudicial in the instant case."

The defense filed a response later the same day, noting that the past allegations "are more than 18 years old, allegedly occurred at a time when Duggar was a minor, and never led to any charges or convictions."

josh duggar
josh duggar

Kris Connor/Getty Images Josh Duggar

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"The existence of juvenile allegations—which did not lead to charges, much less convictions—does not have any tendency to make it more or less likely that Duggar committed the crimes with which he presently stands accused," the response says. "Specifically, an allegation concerning alleged conduct by Duggar as a juvenile sheds no light on whether Duggar knowingly received or possessed alleged child pornography on three days in 2019 as the indictment alleges."

Lawyers for Duggar did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

The prosecution also filed a separate motion last week to introduce Duggar's 2015 apology statement, which read, "I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this has become an addiction."

The motion argues that the admission of an "addiction to online pornography" provides useful context, as well as "a total picture of the charged crimes."

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Again, the defense moved to exclude this evidence, writing, "Whether Duggar allegedly characterized himself as being 'addicted' to viewing adult pornography or being unfaithful to his wife is entirely irrelevant."

The judge presiding over the case has not yet ruled on the matters of Duggar's past scandal or his 2015 statement.

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Duggar has been accused of downloading files depicting child sex abuse on May 14, 15 and 16 of 2019 on the computer at his then-workplace, a used car lot in Arkansas.

Per the new filings, the government anticipates that during the trial, Duggar will attempt to argue that he was not the one who used the computer for the alleged illegal activities.

As such, prosecutors have additionally asked that the court allow them to subpoena bank records and other evidence that they say will prove that one of the witnesses who could have potentially used the computer was out of state at the time of the downloads. The judge granted their request on Monday.

Duggar's trial is scheduled to begin on Nov. 30, with a pretrial hearing set for Nov. 18.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 connected to a certified crisis counselor.